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Council’s discharge response

gully tankerAN INVESTIGATION into a suspected pollution incident at Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock, has cleared the local authority of wrongdoing.

Last month, the Pembrokeshire Herald published a photo of a County Council gully tanker which appeared to be emptying its load into the Haven.

Following a complaint by a member of the public, Natural Resources Wales launched an investigation to establish what had been discharged into the Cleddau. That investigation has now concluded.

In response a spokesman from the County Council said:

“A report of a discharge from one of the County Council tankers into the estuary area at Hobbs Point, Pier Road, Pembroke Dock, was received on the afternoon of November 13. The operative has confirmed that he had undertaken a cleansing operation of a gully and that he had followed the normal operating procedure. Having enquired into the matter the Manager was satisfied that the person reporting the issue had seen a discharge of muddy/ discoloured water from a surface water discharge very close to the gully being cleaned and that it was a direct result of the operation that was being undertaken and regarded it as understandable that it may have appeared to a member of the public as a deliberate discharge from the tanker.

“The driver has confirmed that he completed some paper work whilst parked up at Hobbs Point and that he also undertook a phone conversation. This appears to be confirmed from zooming into one of the photos taken by the complainant, where the driver can be observed in the side mirror, and does appear to be on the phone. The driver cannot be sure how long he was parked up for but has conceded that it probably was in excess of 20 minutes.”

Local photographer, Mike Hillen, who captured the images of the tanker at Pembroke Dock, still believes that there was something wrong.

He said: “There was far too much dirty black water being discharged into the Haven, for it to be a simple cleaning exercise.

This week, we witnessed the same lorry cleaning a gully in Milford Haven. The time taken was about 5minutes to do that job, compared to 20- 30 minutes at Hobbs Point. When the lorry went, the discharge stopped”.

A spokesperson from Natural Resources Wales said:

“We investigated these reports fully with Pembrokeshire County Council who were fully co-operative throughout. We found that the material discharged was the content of the surface water drain and contained no additional polluting matter.

“Although unsightly, it is not an offence to discharge material already lying within the drain and it has little or no impact on the environment.

“However, we are grateful for this matter being brought to our attention and encourage people who see pollution or possible dumping of waste to contact us on 0800 80 70 60.”